Need advice on what Certification to get!

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  • #1658861
    cityFS
    Participant

    Hello. I work for a local government office as a Financial Specialist for a city with about 80,000 residents. I “float” between the AR, AP, and licensing divisions. I take in tax payments and reconcile them in the AR division, key journal entries and check monthly financial reports for the accounting division, and help taxpayers obtain business license and comply with our code of ordinances which includes filing local withholdings and a net profit license fee return for the licensing division. I have a BS in accounting with enough hours to be qualified to take the CPA exam because of a degree change. I worked at a CPA firm for 4 years while getting my degree and I’ve been in my current position for 2 1/2 years. I’m wanting to obtain a certification to be prepared for any promotional openings. I know the CPA certification would be the best of the best but I’m not sure it’s right for me. I don’t want to put in the extreme time and effort it takes for the CPA exam if there is a more fitting certification for what I want to do. My goal would be to go in the licensing direction which could be issuing occupational license to businesses, auditing business returns/accounts and eventually promoting to the occupational licensing manager position. Does anyone have any experience working in this type of government office that has any advice for me? I work with a lot of older people that never pursued any type of certification so they don’t have any advice for me. Thanks for the help!

    Trying to figure out my next move
    #1658915
    mtaylo24
    Participant

    Get the CPA regardless, that trumps everything. If you plan to stay in Governemnt I’d recommend to check out the CGFM or CGFO certificates. Might also want to look into joining either the GFOA or AGA, as these orgs support the certs and keep you to date with the latest GASBs and provide CPE opportunites.

    CPA (2017)

    REG:  75

    BEC:  76

    FAR:  77

    AUD: 78

     

    CMA (2019)

    P1: 380

    P2: 360

    #1658920
    isoceles
    Participant

    CPA trumps all. From personal experience, CMA is significantly easier.

    #1658968
    cityFS
    Participant

    I’ve read a lot of posts on here about people in Government that feel like their CPA was a waste to get since they are staying with government and I feel like that’s how I would feel. I couldn’t go above a 60,000 salary and none of the positions require a CPA. I’m not planning on leaving any time soon with the promotional opportunities and amazing benefits. I just want something that will help me promote but worth the time and effort I put into it. I’ve looked into a couple of governmental certifications but they all seemed to be based on reporting and internal audit which is not what I will be doing.

    I appreciate your feedback!

    Trying to figure out my next move
    #1659005
    Valleygrl68
    Participant

    I joined federal govt last year after many years in private industry. While you are young I would say do both the CGFM and CPA (especially if you have enough credits and don't have to get a Masters in Accounting or take add'l courses to qualify which seems to be the case for you), IMHO you have nothing to lose and much to gain with both certs under your belt. I'm completing the CGFM now and CPA next year. I'm 50.

    #1659274
    cityFS
    Participant

    I'm almost 30, I have two small children and my husband works 3rd shift. I know it's possible, but I'm not sure the amount of stress that the CPA will put on my family will be worth it in the end since I am planning on staying with my City employer until I retire. I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses or being lazy, I just want to make the most efficient decision for my career and my family. I realize that the popular answer will be CPA on this forum but I've been researching this for a few months and the more I dig into it the more I see regret from those who work in government for “wasting their time” getting their CPA, but I want some certification that will help me be the best choice when the time does come for a promotion. I just don't want to be overqualified for that promotion and feel like the others that I've read about. Sorry for rambling, I really appreciate your input!

    Trying to figure out my next move
    #1659296
    DefoDefo
    Participant

    Find out what certs employees hold in the positions you are hoping to get promoted to. CPA is the easy answer since its considered the most prestigious accounting certificate, but you are right that it may be a waste of time if the job you want doesn't require it.

    AUD - 83
    BEC - 84
    FAR - 78
    REG - 92
    AICPA
    #1659305
    cityFS
    Participant

    Right now the direction I want to go in the Occupational Licensing manager has a BS in Business and the Business Tax Auditor has a Bachelor of Arts in Folk Studies that she just got in May. But they've both been here over 30 years and promoted with experience. I was approached by the HR recruiter for the City that asked me if I was ready for any promotions that would be available and suggested that I get some type of certification to be ready, but didn't specify which one. I've asked around my office but no one has any advice for me so I feel kind of stuck. I keep coming back to the CPA but I don't have a good feeling about it being the right choice.

    Trying to figure out my next move
    #1661231
    West55
    Participant

    If you don't need the CPA license, don't get it. It will burn up 18 months or more of your life and may well be the most difficult thing you've ever done. The time commitment really can't be overstated. It totally dominates your life until you either pass it or give up on it. If it will just add letters behind your name that won't help you in any tangible way, then don't waste your time and money on it. Lots of accountants have successful and lucrative careers without the CPA.

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